The death of the modern movie theater

Ryland Staples | Staff Writer

Streaming has become everyone’s favorite pastime. We can all admit that since the pandemic started in March 2020, the number of shows and movies we stream on various streaming services has gone up. With the increasing numbers of streaming services going up, more and more money is being put toward different streaming platforms. With the recent announcement of Paramount+ and Discovery+, there are even more choices for people to make. 

I remember walking past my local movie theater recently, and it was a depressing sight. All of the doors were locked, and the inside was dark; it looked like nobody had visited since the pandemic started. I was kind of crestfallen. This was my movie theater, the one that I had gone to for most of my life. There were still posters from movies that were slated to come out last year, like Wonder Woman 1984, the new Fast and the Furious, Scooby-Doo and the Minions movie. Since then, all of those movies have been released on various streaming channels, mainly on HBO Max.  

This theater is the place I saw Avengers all the way back in 2012, where I had my first date, where I have all of these memories from growing up and it’s all boarded up. I know this is just a part of the long path to growing up. You see the businesses that you went to when you were younger close down and get replaced by new ones. But this isn’t Blockbuster or Hollywood Video being shut down by Redbox and Netflix. This is the entire movie theater industry as a whole grinding to a standstill. 

I still remember the last movie I saw before we went into lockdown. I had just gotten off my internship at WAVY 10/FOX 43, Spring Break had started and I was planning to drive back home the next morning. My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising had just been released in American movie theaters earlier that week, so I decided to see it right after I got off work. I went to see it, and it was all right, nothing to write home about, but I didn’t regret seeing it. 

Three weeks after that happened, the world shut down, and life changed as we know it. Since then, I haven’t been back to a movie theater, and that probably goes for a lot of people as well. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have relied on streaming services to watch new movies, as well as social media to talk about it with our friends. Which is fine. I’m not trying to say that talking about new movies like the new Justice League or Godzilla vs. Kong. 

What I am saying is that because of people feeling less safe being close to other people due to the pandemic, then there won’t be any more memorable moments at the movie theater. Take Avengers: Endgame or Infinity War. If those movies came out during the pandemic, I feel like it wouldn’t have felt the same. 

Now I am not saying that streaming services are inadequate. Quite the opposite, I think they’re great. But I also believe that you should not just wholly take movie theaters out of the picture.

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